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HC restrains Haryana from prosecuting Maruti over green clearance

LiveMint logoLiveMint 26-05-2014 PTI

New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Monday restrained the Harayana government from “prosecuting” car maker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd for not having prior environment clearance (EC) for its unit in Rohtak after the company gave an undertaking that it will apply for the green nod.

The court held that the company will have to get an environment clearance prior to constructing any unit measuring over 20,000 square metres as per the central government’s environment impact assessment (EIA) notification of 14 September 2006. Justice Manmohan said that the 2006 EIA notification is applicable on Maruti, though the company had claimed otherwise.

The court also said the company and its directors would be bound by its undertaking that it will now apply for and obtain the clearances for all three of its units at Rohtak, Gurgaon and Manesar in Haryana. The court directed the Haryana government to consider the company’s applications. It restrained Haryana from initiating proceedings against the company saying the company had not obtained prior EC as it believed the EIA notification did not apply to it, adding that Maruti “could not be said to have acted with mala fide intent”.

Maruti in its plea had contended that the notification is not applicable to it as it is not a special economic zones (SEZ). Maruti also argued that even the Supreme Court has said that the 2006 notification, to the extent that it makes prior an EC mandatory for constructions on land measuring 20,000 or more square metres, needs a relook. According to the 2006 notification, constructions and buildings on areas of over 20,000 square metres require prior environment clearance and this has been made applicable to SEZs. The state government was of the view that the Maruti facility is similar to an SEZ and since it had constructed research and development facility, testing track, etc. without prior environment clearance, it had violated the environment norms.

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